My Childhood Park

My Childhood Park | Lister Park, Bradford, Photography by Anika May |

Lister Park is a huge park built in 1870 by the Lister family in Bradford, the city I was born in. Although I don’t live near it now, it’s still a place that I’ll always be fond of because of the memories it stores. It’s about a mile from the centre of Bradford and easily one of the largest parks in the area. Bradford isn’t the same as it was when I was little, but this park has always remained in tact. It’s still a great place to talk a walk, even though it doesn’t seem as big anymore. 

One of my favourite spots in the park is the Mughal Water Garden where there are various fountains near Cartwright Hall, an art gallery. In primary school, we would take trips to the park every other month and I remember my classmates running at full speed to watch the foundations and play in the surrounding gardens. 

I like going back to spots like this because it’s like reliving the memories. As I stroll around, little snippets of my childhood pop back into my mind and reminiscing on those moments is always heart-warming. Play rounders on the grass, jumping off swings, renting a paddle boat on the lake, feeding the ducks, singing in the bandstand, watching basketball games, running around the fountains and picnics in the botanical garden. 

This was there place where you could be anything you wanted to be. You could be a superhero (I was always Lava Girl), or a doctor, a hotel owner or a mermaid, a firefighter or a football star, a singer or a surfer. The youthful spirit you have as a child is so unique it should be cherished and celebrated. My mum used to always praise me for having a wild imagination and I think that helped to inspire creativity in me later in life.

I spent so much time in this park as a child, it just brings back little moments I thought I’d lost forever. Moments I didn’t realise were stored in my memory until I took a quiet stroll around the lake. During the summer this place was absolutely packed. I remember the play area being so busy, kids had to make up games just to pass the time. Although I was an extremely shy child, I made a lot of friends in this park because as a child you just kind of make friends with everyone. Everyone is equal and you play together until the sun goes down. If only adulthood was that way!

Sadly I can’t go back to my childhood (oh, but I wish I could). I see the park completely different nowadays. It’s one of my favourite places to walk during the autumntime because the trees come together to present the most beautiful colours. It’s a cool place to shoot blog photos or workout because it’s nearly always so quiet. It’s somewhere I enjoy driving past, and I now appreciate the art gallery more than ever. 

Out of all the places in the City of Bradford, Lister Park is one spot I hope will be preserved and looked after. Bradford has so much history to it, and could still be a wonderful city. The park is just one of those grounds that adds a little heart to the area. 

Where’s your favourite childhood spot?